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Patten discusses Hong Kong's 'success story'

Patten June 23, 1997
Web posted at: 11:40 a.m. EDT (1540 GMT)

HONG KONG (CNN) -- A week before China takes over the territory from Britain, Hong Kong's last colonial governor spoke with CNN's Bernard Shaw about the handover and Hong Kong's past and future -- and about his own.

Christopher Patten touted Britain's record in Hong Kong, noting that the "infrastructure" Britain established made it possible for Hong Kong's citizens to "build a spectacularly successful life for themselves."

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"It's a Chinese success story ... with British characteristics," he said.

But, he said, Britain's original takeover of Hong Kong -- during the Opium War -- was not defensible.

CNN's Bernard Shaw's
interview with Chris Patten

Patten told Shaw he was "ready for my garden" after the July 1 handover but said he would watch closely Hong Kong's future development under Chinese control.

"I think my legacy was that I demonstrated that it's possible to stand up for principles in Hong Kong and not see Hong Kong knocked to bits by China," said Patten, the 28th British governor of Hong Kong. "In the longer term and more important, if I have a legacy, it's that this extraordinary city will be much more prepared to speak out about the things that it cares about."

Hong Kong Special Section
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